Every Sunday, I will spotlight a cool Silver Age comic book story. Here is the archive of the Silver Age stories spotlighted already (I did a month's worth of them back in 2011, so I'll just pick up from where I left off then).
Today we take a look at the story that served as a trial run for the return of Captain America, 1963's Strange Tales #114's "The Human Torch Meets Captain America," by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers!
This was during a strange time in the history of the Human Torch, where he was the first member of the Fantastic Four to get his/her own solo feature. The approach Stan Lee came up with was to have the Torch move to Long Island and be a local superhero there (complete with a short-lived secret identity). So now we have #114, where Johnny is hanging out with his friends when he learns that THE Captain America is alive! And he's at an auto show (but of course, that just makes sense, right?)!
Holy crap, how awesome is that first panel? That panel alone should have been enough for them to say, "Yep, we have to bring this guy back."
Cap, though, is a jerk to Johnny.
But he becomes a new hero in town. Johnny, though, doesn't trust him...
I love how in the Silver Age everyone is always a jerk to each other while dating.
Finally, he discovers that the crooks he stopped at the auto show were actually WORKING with the ersatz Cap! So Johnny has a long fight with Captain America (who is flying around on some awesome Kirby flying apparatus that makes no real sense but is still amazing). Cap gives as good as he can get...
As you well know, the fans DID like this idea (especially in such a cool story), and soon Captain America was back in the pages of Avengers #4 (by Lee and Kirby). And it all began with this awesome little story (one of the best Human Torch solo stories).
If you have a suggestion for a Silver Age story that you'd like to see spotlighted in this feature, check out the archive and drop me a line at email@example.com